Electronic Fetal Monitoring vs. Intermittent Auscultation
This systematic review by Devane et al. (Cochrane Review, 2017) aimed to determine whether electronic fetal monitoring upon admission to labor ward compared to intermittent auscultation, had an effect on maternal and fetal outcomes. Of note, the study targeted an average risk population.
Systematic Review of Randomized and Quasi-Randomized Trials
Studies including 13,000 women in labor (at low risk for complications and between 37 an 42 weeks GA) were reviewed. Women who received electronic fetal monitoring had an approximately 20% higher chance of C-sections than those who received intermittent auscultation. Rates of instrumental vaginal birth were not significantly different between the two groups. The data sample was insufficient to determine any effect on perinatal mortality. This review is consistent with the recommendation that women who are not at high risk should not receive electronic fetal monitoring upon admission to the labor ward.
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